When Should I Update My Will?

You have probably heard that you should review your estate plan every couple of years, or once you have a child or grandchild, or once you get married, or if you get divorced. So when is the right time? Is it any time something major happens in your life, or should you just be safe and review it every couple of years?

First, let me say that marriages, divorces, adoptions and child birth can have a profound effect on your will. The occurrence of these events can cause entire portions of your existing will to be effectively ignored. Or worse yet, one of these events could result in the entire will being revoked depending on when the will was executed. Of course this doesn't even begin to consider the actual effect these events can have on your estate planning objectives. The bottom line here is that whenever one of these things happens in your life, you should take the time to ensure that your estate planning documents will still do for you and your loved ones what you want them to do.

Something else you need to watch out for are changes in the law governing estate planning documents in general. You most likely have heard the headlines when there is a major change to Federal estate taxes, and you may even be following the State budget proposals and legislative actions well enough to know what changes might occur that could affect your estate plan. What you are probably not following are the court cases that affect the interpretation of estate planning documents in your particular jurisdiction or at the Federal level. All of these types of changes can have a major impact on your plans, and should be taken into account when determining what the appropriate time is to review and update your documents.

Finally, let me just point out that even if there are no changes in the laws or major life changing events such as those indicated above, you may still want to take the time to review your documents. Why? Well, the short answer is that you should take the time to update your documents if by doing so you will be creating value for yourself. Any time something happens in your life or in the life of a loved one that affects your estate planning objectives or that you want to ensure is accounted for in your existing estate plan, it is time to review your documents and update as necessary. This way, you always have piece-of-mind. If you want to learn more about wills or estate planning documents in general, feel free to browse our website.

Categories: Estate Planning, Wills